Nothing on earth can beat the power of true love.

Jeri and Mike Wirtz are used to defying the odds.

An interracial couple in the 1970s, prejudice and racism were far from a thing of the past despite the ground-breaking legalization of mixed marriages in 1967.

It was truly them against the world. And now? It’s them against cancer. And if love’s got anything to do with it, cancer doesn’t stand a chance.

Interracial Couple Doesn’t Let Anything Stand in the Way of Love

The year was 1976 when Jeri and Mike first laid eyes on each other by the pool at their apartment complex. Both in their mid-20s, Jeri was working as a model and fashion designer and Mike was with AT&T.

It took Mike a week to summon up the courage to ask her out on a date, but then they fell hard and fast.

“We knew that prejudice and interracial…you know, people were against it a lot. But that was something we were not going to let stop us,” Jeri told Good Morning America.

A year later, the couple wed at a small wedding chapel in Artesia, Cerritos in Southern California. Three years later they welcomed their daughter, Nicole and in 1985, their son Ryan was born.

Now, 3 grandchildren and 46 years later, Mike and Jeri say a lot has changed in the world regarding acceptance and integration. “I just look around and I’m just amazed because it’s totally, totally integrated with every race you could imagine,” Mike said about his grandchildren’s school in an interview with Good Morning America.

And while the world may have changed over the years, one thing has remained steadfastly the same — they’re still each other’s “ONE.”

Even though it hasn’t always been easy, nearly five decades later, they’re still going strong.

“We maintained our marriage because we both took our vows seriously and made a commitment to each other.”

Mike Wirtz via Newsweek

“It’s important to respect one another and not to try and change your partner, because at the end of the day, you fell in love with who they are. That’s what makes them so special and unique.”

Becoming Instagram and TikTok Famous

At the age of 72, the couple decided to become content creators after their son posted a quick 10-second “teenage dirtbag” photo montage of his parents on TikTok. The video went viral with nearly 2 million people instantly falling in love with the duo.

In just a few months, their social media has taken off. And one quick look at their reels and it’s so easy to see why. Because true love? The kind that stirs the soul and is the stuff of Hollywood movies? Isn’t dead.

Thirty-eight million people have fallen in love with their love story.

But it’s not just their enviable love that has everyone in their feelings or the fact that they are living proof that even in the face of racism and discrimination, love always wins.

It’s also their infectious positivity, joy, and hope, even while battling cancer.

Love Always Wins

In 2017, Jeri was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer. Three years later, Mike also heard the dreaded words, “It’s prostate cancer.”

After undergoing treatment, Mike is now cancer-free.

And even though there is no cure for Jeri, she’s choosing to live her life to the fullest.

“I have fought through chemo and radiation and I refuse to give up,” she wrote on one of her Instagram reels.

She believes that anything is possible. And when you watch her unbridled joy and zest for life she makes you believe that anything is possible too.

Jeri and Mike hope that by sharing their story, the good and the bad, they can inspire others struggling with their own life challenges.

“I think so many people resonated with our story because we are real people, just living our lives despite whatever obstacles life throws our way. I hope we can inspire people to never give up and keep going,” Mike said.

So What Is Their Secret to Long and Lasting Love?

As for how they’ve made it work all these years, they both say trust and respect have a lot to do with it. (Also, the fact that they both literally never seem to age doesn’t hurt, probably).

“First and foremost, you need to be friends who genuinely like each other. You can’t mold each other into something you’re not,” Jeri advises.

“It’s about accepting your partner for who they are, quirks and all, while they do the same for you,” she continues. “And at the core of it all, it’s about cultivating love, mutual respect, and unwavering trust in each other.”

Clearly, they’ve figured it out because it’s definitely working for them.

Jeri and Mike met at a time when interracial relationships were still being viewed through a lens of prejudice and discrimination. Despite societal pressures and negative attitudes, they chose each other.

And regardless of what life throws at them, they’re still choosing each other.

As much as things change, so many things remain the same. As we continue to witness profound global divisions, their story of the power of love, strength, and resilience is more important than ever.